Texas Rangers news: Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander set to duel, from the hunted to the hunter, and more

Scherzer and Verlander started the season as teammates and will now face each other in a key AL West matchup, as the Rangers fight for their playoff lives.
Texas Rangers v Oakland Athletics
Texas Rangers v Oakland Athletics / Thearon W. Henderson/GettyImages

When the Houston Astros came into town on Monday, the Texas Rangers were hoping to put some ground between themselves and their in-state rival. There is now some more distance between the two, but unfortunately in the wrong direction. After two humiliating losses at the hands of the Astros, the Rangers will turn to their recently acquired ace, Max Scherzer to keep the team from being swept and slipping even further behind.

Max Scherzer vs Justin Verlander is must see TV

In a strange turn of events, the probable pitchers for the Wednesday night finale, will be Scherzer facing off against former New York Mets teammate, Justin Verlander. Scherzer and Verlander were united in New York this past offseason as Mets owner Steve Cohen pushed the chips in on the aging righties. Verlander was signed after the 2022 season, and joined Scherzer, making them the two highest paid pitchers per annual value in MLB.

The two were also teammates in Detroit from 2010 to 2014. They have never been exceptionally close, and with their fierce competitive natures, they will no doubt be pushing hard to one up each other this evening in Arlington and pick up the victory.

With the Mets not living up to their expectations this season, Cohen decided to trade his two aces in an effort to help rebuild the club for a playoff push in a year or two. The Rangers struck a deal first with the Mets and traded for Scherzer and the Astros followed suite with a deal of their own to acquire Verlander. How bizarre is it that the two will toe the rubber tonight in Arlington in a pivotal matchup in the American League playoff race? No one saw this coming at the beginning of the season (actually at any point in the season, until the Mets decided to punt), but when the two future Hall of Famers battle tonight, everyone should tune in.

Texas Rangers no longer the hunted in the American League playoff race

The Rangers find themselves in a position that they haven't been this season, which is out of the playoffs if the season were to have ended after last night's schedule of games. Texas is currently two games behind Houston in the AL West, as well as a game behind the Seattle Mariners.

Texas also lost their hold on the third and final wild card spot last night with their loss to the Astros, along with the Toronto Blue Jays win over Oakland. The Blue Jays play an afternoon game today on the road against the Athletics before hosting the Kansas City Royals for a three-game slate in Toronto starting Friday. The Rangers will also have an off day tomorrow, before hosting Oakland for a three-game weekend series.

Then the Rangers will travel to Toronto next Monday to take on the Blue Jays in a crucial four-game series, with serious playoff implications. The Rangers do hold a 2-1 season series advantage over the Blue Jays going into next week's games. Texas has been out in front of their chasers all year, so it will be interesting if they can somehow flip the script and go from the hunted to the hunter. That is not always an easy task, but sometimes it does alleviate some of the perceived pressure and just lets players go out and play ball.

Hunting season starts tonight for the Rangers, with the Scherzer versus Verlander matchup. I can't think of anyone that I would want to help lead the charge for the Rangers more than Mad Max. The Rangers have only 24 regular season games left to make a push for the postseason. They will obviously not go 24-0, but Texas needs to play better than .500 baseball down the stretch if they plan on selling playoff merchandise this season.

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